New technology such as warehouse management systems have been helping businesses improve their logistics and that was apparent by the numbers in the recent review of global logistics by Tompkins International. Fleet Owner reported on these numbers, which said the sector is poised for some big growth due to the relocation of many manufacturing sites from Asia to North America and more simplistic technology.

"In the past, there used to be a lot of email exchanges that contained valuable information about loads, lanes, pricing, etc., that never entered the 'formal' stream of communication between shippers and carriers," according to software developer Chris Ricciardi. "For example, weather patterns could mess up OTR transit times yet that information never could be formally entered into the logistics discussion. Now such information can get put into the system to allow for more intelligent decision-making."

Ricciardi said now there is more investment in information technology to help organizations readily take in and process data to help work with customers more quickly. Valerie Bonebrake, Tompkins' senior vice president, told Fleet Owner that shippers are now trying to manage fewer relationships across the globe, and can do it with ease by using supply chain software. However, there's also currently a talent shortage which will likely need to be addressed by these organizations.

Record growth by these companies is currently taking place with the amount of contract logistics and warehousing on the rise, Bonebrake said. Enterprises need to look to properly and effectively use technology to help make sense of their current terrain.

Software needed to help add efficiency
Manufacturers looking to adopt new technology or bring a new ERP system in are most likely looking to become more efficient and add a greater breadth of technology into the organization. Industry professional Steve Leavitt wrote on Manufacturing Business Technology that one for the biggest challenges of manufacturers he works with is the work-order pipeline, as sometimes there is plenty of action and other times there needs to be a better flow.

To fix this, he said organizations need to add a warehouse inventory management software system or something similar to help gain visibility into how many new orders are needed, what work is done and what kind of workload is coming into the organization. This can be a large challenge or organizations, but with visibility should be able to readily be answered. Concerns such as whether or now the company can handle the workload itself will quickly be answered and business should run more smoothly. This type of technology has systematically leveled the field for smaller manufacturers, he said.

"With all data about the business aggregated and visible via simple dashboards, decision-makers can make an informed decision about when to begin a new project and how long that project might take. No more guesswork – the answer is on the screen," Leavitt wrote.

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